The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) has been identified by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to provide satellite tracking, telemetry and command services to their first Mars operation – the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM).
India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM). If successful, India would be the fourth space agency to explore the Red Planet. Image credit www.space.com
India successfully launched the PSLV-C25 rocket carrying the MOM spacecraft at 11:08 CAT on 5 November 2013. At 12:53 CAT, SANSA's Hartebeesthoek (HBK) ground station acquired the satellite signal and is providing the craft with Transfer-orbit Support services (TOSS) shortly after injection. "The HBK station is ideally located to be the closest point to the satellite per pass," says Pandey Shyam, an ISRO scientist stationed at HBK for the TOSS duration. "The satellite is in its elliptical orbit, and several manoeuvres are planned before the final Mars injection manoeuvre which should take place around 30 November 2013," Shyam adds.